Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Trump’s Offshore Oil Rush a Disaster for Oceans and Climate - by Richard Steiner

Deepwater Horizon surface oil burning, June 2010 (Credit: David L. Valentine, University of California, Santa Barbara) Click to Enlarge.
Nowhere is President Trump’s historic assault on our natural environment more worrisome than his reckless push for increased offshore oil and gas drilling.

At a time when science says that to stabilize global climate two-thirds of all fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground, Trump is instead pushing a huge increase in fossil fuel production, onshore and offshore.  Expanded drilling, weakened agency oversight, relaxed safety regulations, and oil companies now with more available cash from tax cuts is a “perfect storm” for increased risk of climate disasters and oil spills.

If this dangerous offshore plan moves ahead, we can expect decades of more catastrophic oil spills, hurricanes, floods, droughts, and wildfires.

In addition to the oil and gas already in production offshore, the U.S. offshore seabed may hold another 90 billion barrels of oil and 400 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, or more.  Burning this amount of fossil fuel would add over 50 billion tons of CO2 to the global atmosphere, a “carbon bomb” comparable to the Alberta tar sands.  And much of this CO2 would be reabsorbed into seawater, increasing ocean acidification.

The administration’s offshore drilling plan would commit us to another several decades of carbon-intensive energy production, delay our transition to sustainable low-carbon energy, and guarantee future climate chaos.  But Trump and friends see billions of dollars lying in the seabed, and ignore the inconvenient climate truth.  This could be “game over” for efforts to control climate change.

Read more at Trump’s Offshore Oil Rush a Disaster for Oceans and Climate

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